At least 35 people were killed and more than 65 injured on Friday in attacks on religious gatherings to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed in Pakistan’s unsettled Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, police officials said.
Shortly after the first blast in Mastung, Baluchistan, another explosion was reported in Hangu, near Peshawar in the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which is in the grip of a Pakistani Taliban insurgency, and dealing with a rising ISIS threat.
A deputy superintendent of police, identified as Muhammad Nawaz Gishkori, was among those killed. In Pakistan, deputy superintendents oversee several police stations within a district.
The country’s interior ministry confirmed a blast carried out by “terrorist elements”.
“The attack on innocent people who came to participate in the procession of Eid Milad-ul-Nabi is a very heinous act,” it said in a statement.
Baluchistan’s Minister for Information Jan Achakzai posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that the number of dead was rising.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blast, which comes during a surge in attacks claimed by militant groups in the west of the country, raising the stakes for security forces ahead of national elections scheduled for January next year.